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For all her maidens much did fear,
He would not have abode it.
She mounts her chariot with a trice,
To wait on her were fitted,
As she had been diswitted.
Hop, and Mop, and Drap so clear,
Her special maids of honour;
The train that wait upon her.
Upon a grasshopper they got,
But after her they hie them.
Lest any should espy them.
But let us leave Queen Mab a while,
Her dear Pigwiggen kissing ;
And found his queen was missing.
The frantic Oberon commits a thousand extravagances,
and in his jealous rage runs a tilt at all he meets, like any mad Paladin, till he encounters Puck, to whom he ex. plains the cause of his fury :
“Dear Puck," quoth he,“ my wife is gone;
With vengeance and pursue her:
He to this folly drew her."
Quoth Puck, “ My liege, I'll never lin,
My dearest lord, ne'er doubt it.”
And thus goes Puck about it.
This thing Nymphidia overheard,
For first this business broaching:
What peril was approaching.
The queen, bound with love's powerful charm,
About the room were skipping :
The hornpipe neatly tripping.
In comes Nymphidia, and doth cry, “My sovereign, for your safety fly, For there is danger but too nigh,
I posted to forewarn you : The king hath sent Hobgoblin out, To seek you all the fields about, And of your safety you may doubt,
If he but once discern you.'
When, like an uproar in a town,
'Gainst one another justling :
There never was such bustling.
Forth ran they by a secret way,
Lest Hob should hap to find them ;
To leave this place behind them.
At length one chanced to find a nut,
There scatter'd by a squirrel,
I'll set you safe from peril.
“Come all into this nut, (quoth she), Come closely in, be ruled by me, Each one may here a chuser be,
For room ye need not wrestle,
Nor need ye be together heapt.”
And safe as in a castle.
Puck is outwitted by Nymphidia the waiting-maid, and
Oberon challenged by Pigwiggen the knight of Mab. Immense preparations are made for this solemn appeal to arms. The arming of the combatants, the lists, the battle, are all described with the dignity becoming so mighty an occasion. Like other knights, the rivals having shattered their spears, throw them away, and fight with swords ; when Proserpine is prevailed on, by the prayers and tears of Queen Mab, to interfere. She restores peace, and gives the parties a draught of Lethe, which ends all animosity; and mirth and harmony are restored to the FAIRY COURT.
BALLAD OF DOWSABEL.
Far in the country of Arden
As bold as Isenbras :
As was the good Sir Topas.
A maiden fair and free.
Of mickle courtesy.
The silk well couth she twist and twine,
And with the needle work:
And sing a psalm in kirk.
Which seemly was to see ;
Iwrought full featously.
And lythe as lass of Kent.
Or swan that swims in Trent.
To get sweet sety wall,
To deck her summer hall.
She chanced to espy
And piped full merrily.
To feed about him round,